Environmental compensation of one crore imposed upon distillery for polluting river Kali and surrounding areas

National Green Tribunal: While imposing an environmental compensation of one crore on a distillery in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh for generating substantial quantity of effluent and discharging it into a drain which meets river Kali, NGT ordered that the industry can only be permitted to operate on installation of Multi Effect Evaporator (MEE). The said compensation was directed to be paid to the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board which shall be used only for the improvement of the environment of the area in question. The Tribunal was hearing an application filed by an environmentalist alleging that the distillery unit was generating substantial quantity of effluent and discharging it into a drain which meets river Kali. The sugar cane molasses based distilleries are among the most polluting industries. Their effluent requires several stages of treatment and dilution before safe disposal. Discharge of distillery effluent into surface water leads to depletion of oxygen and water becomes colored. The Daurala-based distillery unit was found to have polluted land and water for many years by releasing untreated effluent and using the same for ferti-irrigation too. After perusing the material on record, NGT observed, “The materials undoubtedly establish that the industry was earlier discharging the effluent generated into the drain, which ultimately reached river Kali and was thus seriously polluting the land and the river….. It is also clear that the industry was operating in violation of the conditions of consent as it was polluting the land and the environment by discharging the untreated effluent on the land and by using if for ferti-irrigation. Using the untreated effluent of the distillery unit is definitely harmful to the land.” While further observing that, “There is no doubt that the industry is a seriously polluting industry. As it is proved that the industry was causing serious pollution for all these years, it is absolutely necessary to impose an environmental compensation on the industry,” NGT imposed environmental compensation of one crore upon the distillery. The Tribunal also noted that as total installation production capacity of the unit is 150 KLD and consent was granted only for production of 80 KLD, industry must be permitted to operate only on installation of Multi Effect Evaporator (MEE) and restrict the production capacity of the industry to 38 KLD till the installation and commissioning of MEE. (Krishan Kant Singh v. Daurala Sugar Works Distillery Unit Daurala, 2015 SCC OnLine NGT 468, decided on November 9, 2015)

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